Coronavirus in Texas: Austin reaches Stage 5 trigger point

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Active cases and hospitalizations continue to rise across Central Texas as the COVID-19 pandemic worsens. On Thursday night, the 7-day moving average for new COVID-19 hospital admissions rose to 49.6, which the city rounds up to 50.

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That’s the so-called “trigger point” where Austin Public Health could recommend the city enter Stage 5 of its risk-based guidelines, the most severe.

Under those guidelines, Austin Public Health would recommend the following:

Everyone should avoid gatherings outside their household
Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid dining or shopping except where essential
Businesses should move to contactless options only and eliminate dine-in service
COVID-19 Risk-Based Guidelines provided by Austin Public Health
COVID-19 Risk-Based Guidelines provided by Austin Public Health
“Today our 7-day moving average of hospital admissions hit 50. Unfortunately, the key indicators for risk stage changes, including the 7-day moving average of hospitalizations, number of patients in the ICU, ventilator use, positivity rate, and 7-day moving average of cases are all trending upward,” an Austin Public Health spokesperson said in a statement Thursday.

They said the next couple days will be “critical as we consider moving stages, and we will be closely monitoring the trends.”

Our hospitals were at their worst point on July 8 when the 7-day average for new COVID-19 admissions reached 75.1. Austin has never fully moved to Stage 5 restrictions though. That’s because it has moved the benchmark for reaching Stage 5 several times depending on the availability of health care workers and staffed hospital beds in our area.

There were 68 new hospital admissions on Thursday, and the Austin-Travis County positivity rate is now at 9%.

The 7-day average of new cases rose to 409 after there were 545 new cases Thursday. Travis County alone added 173 new active cases on Thursday, which means the rate at people getting COVID-19 is far higher than the rate of people recovering.

“Throughout this pandemic, Austin-Travis County kept our COVID-19 numbers comparatively low not by accident or luck, but through community engagement and action,” Austin Public Health added.

“Once again, the actions we take in the coming days and weeks can either move us in the right direction or in the direction of a deadly surge like those we have seen across Texas.”

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